The evacuation of Jews
In June 1944, the Germans transformed Stutthof from a prison camp into a concentration camp. Over 50.000 Jews were deported to Stutthof, mostly women from Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states. The vast majority died under horrible circumstances.
When the Soviet Army reached Eastern Polish territories in July 1944, Jews from Lublin (Majdanek) concentration camp were deported to Stutthof. That summer also 23.600 Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz – mostly women from Hungary – and 10.000 Jews from the Kovno (Kaunas) ghetto arrived in Stutthof. Even larger deportations started in August 1944 from camps and ghettos in the Baltic states, especially Riga, Vilnius and Kaunas. To compare some figures: In June 1944, only 3% of the 37.600 prisoners were Jewish. At the end of that year, nearly 50.000 Jews were deported to Stutthof, 98% of them women, making them the biggest prisoners’ group of the camp...
Stutthof became overcrowded. The living conditions deteriorated quickly. Jews were separated and isolated from the other prisoners. They lived in primitive conditions in overcrowded barracks, lacking even primitive sanitary facilities. Food rations were absurdly small. A gas chamber was installed for killing groups of 25 to 30 Jews at a time. By January 1945, some 9.400 Jews were already killed. But the last months were the most horrible. After the first death march in January, about 7.000 Jewish women were left in behind in Stutthof. Only 1500 of them survived the war, partially as a result of new death marches.